As a group of high schoolers, we discovered a very serious problem with our planet Earth. The ocean part of our planet is getting destroyed by chemicals by the moment, yet there is barely enough awareness about ocean acidification, and I am willing to bet that most of you don’t even know what ocean acidification is! In addition, there’s common things like rising sea levels, plastic pollution, and overfishing. On top of all that, 8 million metric tons of plastic waste enters the ocean every year, posing a health hazard to all marine wildlife. Most importantly though, we realized that it is not us who are at fault for not caring about the ocean. People are not educated on those topics in general, and as a result they find no reason to help contribute to this cause.

What it does

Our solution? Project Oogway. We designed a website that raises awareness about the current issues the ocean is facing with fun and interactive visuals as well as an AI Chatbot that is our tour guide for this website and has a collection of ocean puns that it can tell! Our goal is to make marine conservation an easy and fun topic to approach so people can get more involved and ultimately halt all the issues the oceans are facing, and hopefully reverse them so we have a healthy ocean again!

How we built it

We built the website using mostly html/css, and there is a little bit of javascript. Our AI chatbot was built using Twilio, which is in json, and we were able to integrate it with Whatsapp using Twilio's built-in Whatsapp api. For certain features of the bot, we built a python backend with the flask framework.

Challenges we ran into

  • One of our team members fell ill at the beginning of the project
  • Another team member got his computer taken away by parents
  • Limited experience in all the languages and tools we used

Accomplishments that we're proud of

  • We learned git, which was new to us
  • We linked several html pages together
  • We were able to import fonts that are not built into html by default.
  • We built a Whatsapp AI chatbot with Twilio
  • We used flask for the first time to integrate python functions onto twilio's bot

What we learned

During the school year, week-long hackathons are really a rare sight, and this is our first time experiencing something like this, so here are some thoughts. First off, having a week to work on our project allowed us to be more relaxed and actually take the time to understand the skills we need for our project. The downside however, is that we can’t pull all nighters like we would in a 24 hour hackathon, and therefore we had to really schedule our time well to stay on track and motivated. Secondly, it is really difficult to solve problems together when we can’t just go over to their screen and find little things they didn’t catch. The concentration issue is even worse when we are trying to find snippets of time where we would be able to call and do progress check ins. Last but not least, being at home means we must still do our daily activities like SAT test prep, taking care of our pets, spending time with our family, etc, so we were not able to spend as much time on our project as possible. Overall though, all three of us would admit that we enjoyed this hackathon the most compared to our past experiences, as it was more challenging from both life and knowledge, but also pushed us towards self discipline and self study.

What's next for Project Oogway

As Wren from corridor digital once said, “no film is ever finished, it just gets released”, our website is also the same. We have poured a lot of hard work into this website, and if you check on us a few months later, I bet you would be able to find some new features, including but are not limited to:

  • the addition of a google maps api and load some GeoJSON data into it so it displays markers on the locations of sea turtles or plastic.
  • allow users to create accounts, and incentivize it with rewards so it increases user interaction with our website.
  • some ocean related games with javascript for our younger audience to spark interest for ocean conservation at a young age.
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